CNN Starting point calls it “The Fifty Shades of Grey of political novels,” which is definitely a stretch as it lacks any graphic sex scenes whatsoever unless you count sizing up the candidate’s package as graphic. Still, Domestic Affairs, by Bridget Siegel, a political consultant who has worked on local, state and national campaigns, is hard to put down as FishbowlDC quickly learned after finishing it in a few days.
In Siegel’s 2012 book, which releases in paperback on May 14, she mentions journalists by name including HuffPost‘s Sam Stein, WaPo‘s Chris Cillizza, then-Politico‘s Ben Smith and “Tara” from Page Six — i.e. Tara Palmeri, formerly of the Washington Examiner and currently of the New York Post. Also mentioned: Brianna, possibly CNN’s Brianna Keilar.
Smith wasn’t aware of his presence in the book. “I was not!” he wrote. “But glad my immortality is assured.” When told that he was mentioned in a semi-racy novel, Stein asked, “Did my story on Ms. Greenley make the front page of Huffpost?”
Sadly, no. Smith was identified as the reporter who broke the fictitious news of the novel’s main character, Olivia Greenley, going to work as Georgia Gov. and Presidential hopeful Landon Taylor. Interestingly, Greenley has an affair with the very married candidate, as does the star in ABC’s “Scandal” — also named Olivia as in Olivia Pope. Politico also gets a shout-out: “Sure, her mom didn’t know what Politico was, but her colleagues did. Ben Smith was reporting on her. Sam Stein and Chris Cillizza, too.”
Later in the book… when Landon begs Olivia to come to Iowa (this is after they had sex and after they’d told each other “I love you”) she was a complete mess, subsisting mainly on Tequila and Doritos. Siegel writes, “Though most of Olivia was thinking about throwing her BlackBerry out the window and hoping that Tara from Page Six would walk by and find it, there was a small, admittedly dysfunctional part of her that wanted to go.”